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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:
Life and Works of Rufinus with Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus.: Principalities and Powers.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

35. But I beg you to listen patiently as I follow him in his continual recurrence to these same doctrines—not indeed in all that he says of them, for it is so much that I should have to write many volumes if I tried to exhaust it—but as much as will satisfy the reader that it is not by chance that he slips into these notions which he now proposes for imitation to his disciples, but that he supports them by large and frequent assertion. Let us see what it is that he teaches us in these the most approved of his Commentaries. In this same book he teaches that there is for men the possibility of both rising and falling, not in the present age only but in that which is to come. On the passage in which the words occur: “Far above all Principality and Power and Might and Dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but in that which is to come,” he has the following among other remarks:

“If, however, there are Principalities, Virtues, Powers and Dominions, they must necessarily have subjects who fear them and serve them and gain power from their strength; and this gradation of offices will exist not only in the present age but in that which is to come; and it must be possible that one may rise through these various stages of advancement and honour, while another sinks, that there will be risings and fallings, and that our spirits may pass under each of these Powers, Virtues, Principalities, and Dominions one after the other.”

Next: Jerome's complaint of new doctrines may be retorted on himself.

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